Wise people often say we should learn from history.
There have been two other Commonwealth countries that have introduced direct registration into their domain spaces in recent times, and the evidence is in that they have been resounding failures (only benefiting a few).
When it comes to introducing direct registrations into the .au namespace, I think it is fairly obvious that there are there are 4 camps.
- A small group who love the idea of direct registrations being introduced because they stand to benefit in some way;
- A small group who dislike the idea because they consider it unnecessary and it is going to cost them in many ways (not just financially);
- A small group who are on the fence – they see positives and negatives;
- A very large group (of registrants) who wouldn’t even have a clue what is going on because they haven’t been informed or consulted.
It’s Not Just Me Saying It!
I know some of you are saying “here he goes again”, but rather than me repeat myself, have a read what the respected industry journalist Kieren McCarthy wrote in “The Register” last week.
He was commenting on some of the negative effects of the introduction of direct registration into the UK a couple of years ago – as well as a few shenanigans that have taken place along the way. (Thanks to a pal of mine of mine who sent me the article link).
For those that don’t know, Nominet is to the UK what auDA is to Australia.
Key quotes from the article
Nominet pushed for the creation of new .uk domains over two years ago, despite strong objections from the internet community. It stands to make millions a year from the scheme.
Nominet decided it wanted to scrap its long-standing third-level domain approach and offer straight .uk domains back in 2013, in large part because overall .uk registrations were slowing and there was greater market competition from hundreds of new internet extensions.
Not everyone was convinced it was a good idea: adding .uk domains would undermine the existing system for no good reason, critics warned. People were happy with their .co.uk names. But Nominet’s executives, seeing an opportunity to bring in millions of pounds of new revenue every year (and boost their performance related bonuses), pushed ahead regardless.
Opposition to the plans meant it couldn’t get past a vote, however, mostly because of the concern that millions of companies (there are over 13 million UK domains) could have the .uk version of their existing .co.uk name registered by someone else, creating a massive cybersquatting and branding problem. And so Nominet pushed through a policy compromise: anyone with a .co.uk domain would be allowed to claim the same name as a .uk address for two years, for free.
This is far from the first time that Nominet has been accused of feathering its own nest, and that of its Board members’. In June this year, we pointed out how Nominet’s new registration program for .uk domains that had gone unclaimed (yes those unwanted .uk domains again) has not only been purposefully skewed to benefit registrars over UK consumers, but also designed to disproportionately benefit the largest registrars.
Almost four years ago to the day, I wrote “Trials And Tribulations Of .UK”. It’s worth a read!
Ned O’Meara – 19th September 2019
I have fought hard against direct registration over many years. This includes being a dissenting member of 2015 Names Panel. I was also the initial Demand Class representative of the PRP until I briefly became an auDA Director. But I also believe in proper process, and if this happens – including all registrants being properly notified – (and I’m on the losing side), then I accept that outcome.